11th & 12th grade CCD

Dh & I have been asked to teach post-confirmation CCD this year. Our parish is small, and they have not had success in getting these kids to CCD. Dh & I were asked in part because we are new to the community (not many people move into our tiny town) and we are not parent of teenagers.

The education committee’s vision for our class is to cover topics such as sexuality, vocations, end of life, etc with a discussion/speaker/video/field trip format. We do not have any curriculum to facilitate our topic selections, so dh & I are on our own. Our class will be 10-15 kids.

Here are my concerns that I am hoping someone can help with:

  1. How do we reach teenagers? Our oldest is only 7yo, so this is completely new territory.
  2. What topics will best engage them and help them as they begin their adult life?
  3. Where are the best resources for me to stay a step ahead of the kids? My dh is a cradle Catholic with limited knowledge of his faith and I am a convert who has had one poor RCIA experience. We are learning with our kids, but I didn’t expect to have to jump start to high school yet.


First, you are going to have a blast!!

Second, find out what texts are approved for use in your Diocese.

If the Didache Series is approved for use where you are, I would STRONGLY suggest you get a copy and review it.

The Amy Welborn “Prove It!” series is good - includes a Bible so you can work in Scriptural Apologetics.

Theology of the Body for Teens is a another to look at.

For videos? Steve Ray’s “Footprints of God” is great. Fr. Stan Fortuna’s video of the Mass is another must have for the video library.

Do you have time to hold a focus group or some other meeting to see what the burning questions this group has? In most parishes, those years are not “required” so you tend to get a group that is more serious about Catholicism. At least that’s how it seems in my also tiny parish.

For example, we live in Texas in the heart of the Bible belt. Our kids are always asking for help defending the faith to thier Protestant friends. By high school, the big Protestant churches are really pushing thier kids to go out and evangelize thier peers. So our kids want to be able to confidently answer basic apologetic questions such as “Are you saved?” “When did you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour?” “Why do Catholics worship Mary instead of Jesus?” etc. So some beginning apologetic material is good.

I teach 9th grade and encourage the students to bring up topics we don’t cover in the book. I try to fit them in here and there. Most of them really want to know how to “personalize” thier faith and prayer life. They have been in the shadow of thier parents and want to make it thier own. If you can hold retreat days (even if they are completely in-house) and give the students resources to work through these issues, it might work well.

Good luck. These are the critical years before the kids leave the nest. Thank you for taking this on.

welcome home, by doing this you will certainly learn as much or more as you did in RCIA, and solidify your own faith. God bless you for taking on this challenge.

Our PC (post-Confirmation) class for 11th & 12th grade is apologetics-based, with rotating topics. In past semesters we have had Contemporary Moral Issues (great book from Ignatius press by Bishop Pell), Basic Apologetics series from San Juan Seminars (the is a link from CA site) there are 7 or 8 books in the basics series and we have done several; Our Fathers Plan (overview of Salvation History by Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavins); some selected bible studies on books and topics the kids asked for: Revelation, along with apologetics on “rapture” and “left behind” and Catholic teaching on end times. This year one module will be Theology of the Body for Teens.
This class runs on a college seminar model, in fact the catechists are college professors. Adults of the parish are also welcome, and each module (8-12 weeks) is advertised as it comes up.

May I suggest a brainstorming session with the catechists who taught them in earlier grades, their parents, pastor, anyone else you can think of, and of course some of the kids themselves. Find out what they think “happens” after confirmation. Find out what they feel lacking in their knowledge up until know. Our kids seem to want to learn what we never seem to have time for in confirmation class. They also want to do something active, beyond “confirmation service hours” so we train them as lectors, EMHCs and plug them in to other parish apostolates. Most of all, like adults of the parish, they ask for bible studies.

What they do not want is something that looks and sounds like CCD or even worse like their HS classroom.

we have another option for PC which is training as a catechist or small group facilitator to work with younger teens, or with elementary (always with a mentor catechist, as per PGC requirements). This is by invitation only, but we sent invitations to all those who were confirmed in the spring, for this, for the seminar and other options.

I wish I went to your parish, Annie.

I like the San Juan books alot!

Kida love food, so if the budget allows, have food.:slight_smile:

Some of this you will know and some might be new so please have patience with this reply,

Treat these teens as you would adults of your own age. Do not talk down to them. Do NOT pretend to any knowledge you do not have. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so, write it down where all can see (flip chart) and get the answer for the next class.

Above all, be yourself. These people can tell a phoney a mile away and will come in for the kill instantly.

You are going to have a blast, you will learn more about your faith than you dreamed possible, and will be better parents for your own kids when they become teens.

Good luck and God bless you both.

I don’t wish to be mean, so don’t take this that way. But, “My dh is a cradle Catholic with limited knowledge of his faith and I am a convert who has had one poor RCIA experience.” Not a good idea. Maybe if you had 6 to 8 months to read and study, the Catechism, Thelolgy of the Body, some other Church documents. High Schoolers want to discuss adult issues (today they are already involved in them) You need to be able to clearly with authority present the Church understandings on Sexuality, Birth Control, Homosexuality, Marriage, Faith, Morals, Prayer, Worship, Doctrine, History, Clergy sexual abuse, abortion, etc. I have done some Q and A in 8th grade and all these issues came in on the index cards as questions. Maybe a team approach would work but you need to team up with some people who know what the Church teaches about the issues of the day. also remember that this is an entertainment generation, so the use of multi-media is important. Remember also what is said there needs to stay there, (except certain thingsof a serious nature, then you need to speak with the pastor)

Well, I hope I didn’t come across as ignorant in my faith or as someone who isn’t able to prepare and research before a class. Reality is that either we teach this class or they don’t have it. Our parish is very small and I am sure that our household has more Catholicness (if that’s a word) than most in the parish.

I was surprised when they asked to teach this class, but I am sure God will give us the graces we need to teach 'this class.

I’m not at all saying you said that you were ignorant about the faith. But that a team approach might be better if it’s possible. A one hour program will require at least 4 to 6 hours of preparation. Don’t hesitate to say “I’ll find the answer for you and get back with you next week.” If your house is more Catholic than most of the parish, you may also have to defend the teaching of the Church not only to the youth, but to their parents as well.

I completely agree with you that it would be ideal for a team approach or for someone who has studied important church documents to teach our class. I only wish our parish was so devout as to have people who study their faith. We are a very small, very rural parish, and our parish doesn’t lead spiritual growth. We don’t have bible studies, fellowship after mass, or prayer activities. We don’t even start and end any meetings with prayer. It’s much, much different than any other parish I have ever attended. When we moved here 7 months ago, I was shocked to find that my immediate family lives out the faith in much more tangible ways than 95%+ of the rest of the parish. We feel lucky to have parents bring the kids to CCD since most of the families don’t attend mass. Our CCD program has 65 kids in it K-12. The lower grades where my kids are, have only 1-3 students/class. So, we have parents teaching the classes, but these are parents who aren’t studying their faith, who aren’t reading their bibles, and who aren’t praying with their children. So, I guess by comparison, I can see why we were asked to teach the post-confirmation class. At least in my family we are stretching to learn and grow. We are trying to teach our kids about their faith.

I have also thought that maybe God is helping lead my dh & I by having us teach this class. I can see my dh responding already. :thumbsup:

if you have been called yes you will be given the grace to do what the Holy Spirit has planned for you and the class

I hope I didn’t intimidate anyone by saying our catechists are college profs. they teach math and public policy, not theology, and learned just the way you have, both came through RCIA many years ago, and continued studying and learning to satisfy their own thirst. They communicate that thirst for knowledge of the things of the Lord to their students which is why they are so successful. As newbies you will infect your class with the same spirit that brought you through RCIA.

How is it going so far?

Check with your diocese’s office of catechesis or youth ministry office. They may have some very valuable resources for you, along with a support system like a council of catechists or youth ministers that also provides resources that you can already tap into that you are not aware of.

Also check out www.nfcym.org. They have wonderful links as well. God bless you for your work with teens. It’s invaluable and hopefully it will land on fertile soil.

I concur with the use of my Welbourn’s series: “Prove It…!” - they ar well written in a relevant verbage. I have used them myself - at the suggestion of one of the staff apologists from Catholic Answers ;).

The Didache series is also worth looking into, though may be a little pricey for a small parish.

I have been teaching high school ccd for years. You can never go wrong teaching the catechism. IT is more important to teach teens where the answers come from and how to find them than answering individual questions. Also the format should be more like club than a class. Start with a game than have a talk and be sure to serve food. Let the teens write a question down on an index card and answer them the next session That will give you plenty of time to ask the experts. Just rember this slogan where do Catholics go for answers? Catholic Answers.com Show them this and other good catholic web

Just a quick tip. You might have better luck keeping in touch with the entire parish (small or not) through flocknote.com as that Catholic resource is meant for you and others in a variety of Church positions and possibly even those in Consecrated Life. Its a free tool and will keep your life simplified. That way, you can focus on the teaching and preparation, not the every which way to communicate.

Some topics to consider

  1. getting more out of mass- teaching mass, yes Jesus is really presant followed by work shops on how to be a greeter, lector, music or eucharistic minister,.
  2. staying cathoic at college or at work. Bring in 20 ish members of the parish.
  3. Catholic devotions- the rosary, the adoration etc. then have them participate in one devotion.
  4. defending your faith to non catholics, go thruogh skits.
  5. how catholics understand and study the bible.
  6. Community service - yes your works matter. then do community service.
  7. This is the catechism- how to read and understand it.
  8. Church history.

hope this helps

Jennifer -

Have you examined the Life Teen program? It is extremely well produced and helps our youth grow closer to Christ while growing up in today’s world. It is a fantastic learning experience for the students and leaders. On line the program can be found at: www.lifeteen.com. Congratulations for answering the Lord’s call; enjoy every moment.


Give it to the Blessed Mother in prayer. She will guide you. PRAY PRAY PRAY

My wife and I taught 9th grade CCD and had much success (near perfect success attendance all semester). We developed a Salvation History course which focused on (The Holy Bible, of course) and establishing a relationship with Jesus Christ. Each class focused on a piece of classical or contemporary art which we used to enhance the studies of the old and New Testament accounts. We have posted these lessons all online for free, for anyone to use. Each lesson has a Teachers Script, Student Outline, Powerpoint and Video Review.


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